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  • Philippine Arts Council


The Filipino in Me - Insights into Living Heritage

Entry by Joseph Charles (JC) Sta. Maria. Fort St. John, British Columbia




Medium: alcohol-based markers, Sharpie marker

Born in the Philippines to an Ilocano father and a Bicolana mother, Joseph Charles (JC) Sta. Maria moved to Canada with his family in 2012, when he was seven. His family continuously integrates Filipino heritage through their values, beliefs, practices, decorative objects, food, language, dialects, legends, myths, stories, superstitions, celebrations, Catholic traditions and prayers into their new life in Canada.

JC drew Home doodle art using alcohol-based markers in 2019 when he was 14. This drawing highlighted what he observed, loved, and missed most about the Philippines.

In the illustration, you can notice the different objects, animals, and foods littered throughout the page. Each has a meaning of why they are there.

The foods show JC's childhood snacks, which he doesn't get to have often in Canada, like the Skyflakes, newly-opened coconut water, or Cloud 9 Bars. Of note is Philippine children's drink of choice - Milo. Thanks to its availability in Walmart, JC still gets to enjoy a glass or two every day in Canada!

Also, notice the different animals. You can see a Butanding, called the "gentle giant", the biggest whale shark in the world that can grow as big as 18.8 meters! There is a carabao, a common farm animal and the Philippines' national animal, a rooster ready for a cock fight, koi fish, and even the Philippine eagle! These cemented into JC's mind and constantly reminded him of the Philippines.

There is also the beautifully-scented Philippine national flower, the Sampaguita, that JC remembers seeing children selling strands of it in the middle of Metro Manila traffic.

There is water, the beating sun, a coconut tree, and a volcano to help represent the image of his home, Albay -- where the most-perfect coned volcano is, the Mayon Volcano.

It's very hot in the Philippines. There are coconut trees everywhere and beautiful, waving oceans. There are also objects and typical street scenes in the Philippines, like people having two cell phones or more, flip flops, jeepneys, standard transport in the Philippines, tall skyscrapers with huge billboards, sari-sari stores and of course a basketball to represent a made-up basketball court in every neighbourhood!

There is some symbolism and myth in there as well. There is a ghost, showing that many people in the Philippines believe in them. There is a treasure map because some people think there is a treasure to be found there (Yamashita treasure, a familiar tale in Baguio City)!

An A+ image shows the pressure of getting good grades and two stickmen fighting to represent the many conflicts the country has gone through, but beneath it, the word "hope" because the people remain happily together!

Having lived in Canada for ten years, everything in the drawing still holds a special place in his heart as a true Filipino!

Now 17 years old, JC continues to draw doodle art because it's fun! Other than alcohol-based markers, he is currently exploring and enjoying watercolours.

JC has joined several local and regional art shows in Northern BC. He is excited to continue improving his art techniques by participating in Emily Carr University Vancouver's Summer Institute for Teens this whole month of July, where his chosen studio is 2D Animation.


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